Ultra original and homely restaurant from a single chef kitchen
As a new Michelin starred restaurant for 2020, this was the 10th that I needed to do and was an absolute, little gem of a place. Although I was initially a little concerned driving 2 hours to the East coast to find the restaurant derelict and disbanded, I was a tad relieved to see the new location just down the road from the old site. Cooking for the 5 tables (only) is done by the one chef at the helm (Ben Crittenden) and the one waiting staff to add to a very cosy and unique setting. I was delighted at the food here and the £65 for the six-course tasting menu represented very good value and I walked away all the happier for making the trek.
A quick piece on the previous location is that this will become a tapas bar in due course so the chef informed me. The interior of this restaurant is lined with imagery of the Marvel franchise, hence STARK as in Tony Stark and the chef is also a fan of Game of Thrones which features the House of Stark as well.
On to the meal, homemade sourdough and fabulous creme fraiche butter was served first. Next came a confit egg yolk with lightly pickled carrot and crab sauce. This had a delightful pickle to offset the richness of egg and very pleasant bisque for the crab.
Duck liver parfait, confit duck leg, confit duck base, apricot purée and pistachio with a ginger biscuit was simply stunning. The liver parfait had a nice injection of sweetness from the apricot and with all together, this parfait dish was excellent. Confit Trout wrapped in nori seaweed came with fennel, dill, tomato dashi and shrimps, tapioca and seaweed cracker. This was another highly enjoyable dish.
Venison was served with pickled cherry, beetroot sauce and puffed rice. This had a sensational, sweet reduction and I liked the way this was complemented by the onions and puffed rice – a lovely dish all round. An almond sorbet then cleansed the palate with fig, Manchego cheese and honey truffle. This was quite gooey in texture but pleasurable all the same. Finally, a chocolate cremaux, with dulce de leche passion fruit finished off the proceedings in a delightful way and not overly sweet which I was most impressed with.
There wasn’t a single dish I did not enjoy at the restaurant and the charm and down-to-earth nature of the staff shone through. This is a complete gem and the chef gained my trust very early on in this meal. I do really look forward to returning here whenever I can. I can count on one hand, gems like this in the UK.
Food Grade: 86%
Location (Click google logo for directions)